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The Recruitment and Retention Race

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Covid-19 has changed the world for good, and as the world of work has changed, the expectations and demands of employees have grown. As the world starts to emerge from restrictions and lockdowns, the race to secure resources has begun and, within organisations, human resources and the quality of those human resources are crucial. Therefore, it is vital that organisations promote, understand and execute a flexible and attractive recruitment process in order to be in a better position to fill jobs promptly with quality candidates.

That being said, employees now have different expectations when pursuing new roles because of the shift in their priorities, especially when considering their work/life balance. Steven Atkins, Global Analytics Enablement Director, SplashBI, discusses how employers need to think about 24/7 recruiting in a way that they’ve never thought of before, to keep up with the change of employees’ expectations and provide long term success.

Putting candidates first

As businesses were plunged into lockdown for months, employers were forced to quickly adapt in order to ensure businesses ran as usual by transitioning to remote working. As a result of this successful approach, 85% of employees want to continue to use a “hybrid working” model to keep a better work-life balance.

It is crucial for employers to ensure flexibility as this is now one of the top incentives for employees. Pre-pandemic, location has always been crucial when searching for a job. What used to be a significant barrier to applying for a new job, is now no longer a problem. If candidates lived five hours away from the workplace, traditionally they wouldn’t apply for the job. Now, with remote and hybrid working, opportunities are farther afield allowing employees to have a vast choice of jobs because they aren’t tied down to a certain location..

Additionally, the hybrid model benefits employers too. It means they can spread their recruitment net much further and look for talent across counties, countries and continents.

Over the past year, employees have proved that they can get the same work done at home just as well as they could within the office. It is therefore viewed as a win-win situation for both employees and employers to continue the hybrid way of working as we move on from the pandemic. Companies will have to adapt quickly or they will be left behind as prospective employees will now expect this type of flexibility in their working lives to be the norm, rather than the exception.

In today’s rapidly changing world of work, offering some flexibility in employee work schedules is key to retaining and attracting top talent, whether it’s allowing employees to work from home or letting them work outside of the standard nine-to-five schedule, depending on their availability.

Listening to your workforce

Offices are reopening their doors – and business leaders need to start planning. A hybrid model that suits one employee might not suit everyone, and imposing rules that completely undermine the concept of flexible working undermines the concept as well. Employees need to be educated about the advantages of face-to-face interactions with colleagues as well as understand their perceptions of hybrid working. They need to highlight to clients and suppliers the value of hybrid working – before companies stumble by default back into unhealthy, unproductive working models.

The bottom line is that business owners and managers need to acknowledge that managing employees has become  a lot more complicated. As a result, organisations need to put in place a powerful Human Capital Management (HCM) solution. HCM is vital to help HR hire and onboard  the right candidates but even more so for your current employees, to increase engagement with work-life solutions that help motivate employees and deliver a great employee experience. Active management is going to be crucial if they want to build a productive, well-balanced, and committed workforce. In addition, employee wellness and mindfulness are critical things to consider to ensure your teams are best placed to cope with the new demands placed on them.

Understanding and utilising data

As many organisations struggle with the new ways of working, data should sit at the heart of the decision making. Companies harvest all kinds of valuable and usable data from their employees and they need to capitalise it. Decision making is a critical function within any business and decisions that have been taken based on data nearly always produce better outcomes – with 91% of businesses stating that data-driven decision-making is important to the growth of their business. So, if organisations use this methodology for product development or marketing, why don’t they use that approach when it comes to recruitment and retention?

Organisations need to select data from across their HR infrastructure, such as an ATS or Talent System, and then begin the analysis journey to understand employee behaviour.  Organisations are now utilising and maximising people analytics tools that can help drive successful decision making, and more importantly, based on evidence to support these decisions.  In order to analyse past and present data, predictive analytics in HR is needed to forecast future outcomes and identify patterns that may be crucial for organisations retaining their current talent. With the help of these tools, businesses can not only select the important data but crucially analyse the data efficiently.

Conclusion

It is vital for organisations to ensure they never stop recruiting and boosting their investment in Talent Acquisition. Maximising people resources not only helps drive business success but it helps drive recruitment and retention success. For employers, hiring decisions can now be based on talent rather than geography. Employee outlook has dramatically changed over the last twelve months but organisations who don’t adapt, run the risk of losing their talent to other businesses that meet employees personal and professional goals.

Organisations have skills and talents in the workforce but do they really understand what those skills are and where they are located? Do they know how they are measured in terms of diversity? Can they drill into the information to see which areas are doing well and which are doing not so well? Harvesting and utilising people analytics data will ultimately help drive internal mobility for employees and drive better company culture as well as drawing in new talent and retaining your experts, and all the while delivering improved business outcomes.

 

Banking

The importance of Customer Experience (CX) for retail banks today

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By James Isaacs, President, Cyara

 

Today’s retail banks face considerable challenges. Open banking initiatives –  that make it easier for customers to switch accounts – and increased competition from emerging fintech brands, are making it harder for them to attract and retain customers. This challenge is particularly acute for traditional banks which are seeking to attract younger people, who are drawn to the range of innovative services offered by digital-first emerging ‘neo’-banks.

To stay competitive, traditional banks must improve the customer experience  they offer account holders. They also must look for more efficient ways of working, so they can service all customers in a consistent way, regardless of which banking channel they use – whether it’s banking online, at a physical bank branch, through a contact centre, using a mobile app, or (most often) using a combination of all these channels.

The challenge of consistency

The argument for an omnichannel strategy is compelling. Fuelled by the pandemic, demand for digital banking services has grown. McKinsey suggests that 71% of European banking clients prefer multi-channel interactions, whilst 25% express a desire for a fully digitally-enabled private banking journey with remote human assistance when needed.

The delivery of such systems, however, is not without its challenges. Embracing omnichannel often means transitioning to a cloud-based infrastructure – away from the legacy on-premise systems prevalent in banks. Even when this hurdle is overcome, delivering banking services through multiple channels requires a significant investment of time and resources. Due to these common barriers, many banking CX projects fail to get off the ground.

James Isaacs

At the other end of the scale, there are the banks who have sought to implement numerous channels to cater for every possible customer demand, with varying degrees of success. The key to the delivery of a stellar CX is consistency – ensuring that every stride a customer takes in their journey is seamless, irrespective of the path or the channel they choose to take. The chance of ensuring a consistent service across all these channels is negatively impacted if organisations attempt to simultaneously deploy services to mobiles, website, in-person channels, messenger, chatbots, contact centres, alongside the adoption of newer open banking services.

Selectiveness is key

Organisations looking to optimise CX through the adoption of an omnichannel strategy are therefore advised to be more selective in their approach – adopting one or two new channels or approaches before expanding their omnichannel offering further.

An ideal starting point for retail banks is to look at automation within the customer journey. When applied correctly, automation can be used to help improve customer service in a way that also delivers efficiency gains.

The power of automation

Automation can have a significant impact on the CX delivered within retail banking, which saves valuable time for the customer and enhances the customer journey. Most customers getting in touch with their banks have fairly routine queries, such as a change of address, so the need to speak to an advisor is often unnecessary.

Automated customer-facing support solutions, such as chatbots, offer a faster way for customers to self-serve and secure the answers that they need to certain problems without having to phone an agent. Chatbots are programmed through a knowledge bank that can easily be updated with new information, enabling customers to source the information they need quickly and easily. Chatbots can also be used to direct customers to an agent if they are unable to resolve the issue.

For those customers who do still need to speak to an agent, there are Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, which capture information from a customer when they call into the contact centre. IVRs help customers complete simple tasks themselves and route them automatically to the right department. This directly reduces average call handling time (AHT) for agents and the length of time that a customer is on the phone.

The importance of automated CX testing

Yet, offering omnichannel and automated journeys is not enough to satisfy customers. These journeys must be flawless if they are to deliver a seamless customer experience. Forward-thinking organisations understand that the only way to assure perfect execution is through adopting automated testing that places a spotlight on the omnichannel customer journey from the customer’s perspective.

Automated testing can be enabled by leveraging an intuitive testing solution that develops test cases based on existing customer journeys. Retail banks can use automated testing to track various paths through IVRs, chatbots and then base test scripts on those journeys to ensure their flow or functionality is as it should be. Using this strategy, financial organisations can create thousands of automated test cases that cover the full swathe of customer journeys, shortening testing operations to a fraction of the time of equivalent manual tests.

While automated testing provides easily measurable benefits, certain alerts flagged by automated testing are more critical than others. Distinguishing a true failure that requires immediate action as opposed to failures that can be addressed in time is essential to achieving the true return on investment (ROI) of test automation. In doing so, banks can ensure that the customer journey remains smooth, and the CX delivered remains outstanding.

The path to good CX is paved with automated testing

Delivering omnichannel services for banking is key to satisfying customer demand. However, whether it is the delivery of a chatbot, IVR or an open banking model, retail banks are well advised to stagger the roll-out to ensure the delivery of a consistent service to customers. Automation plays a critical role here – both in the delivery of omnichannel services to customers, but also ensuring its ongoing success through rigorous, frequent and automated testing.

Financial organisations that want to remain frontrunners in the market will stand out against the competition by delivering stellar digital and in-person experiences for customers. To assure high-quality CX, walk in the shoes of your customers, testing their customer journey in each and every scenario to confirm there are no cracks in the road. Of course, there may be bumps along the way, but when those are addressed in a timely manner, retail banks will continue to attract and retain customers for the long haul.

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Business

Why do Traders Need a Managed Service Partner?

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Jeff Mezger, Vice President of Product Management, Financial Markets, TNS

 

Does your financial institution have the understanding, resources, talent and bandwidth to execute an effective data center strategy in-house? If not, it needs to, as behind every transaction is a labyrinth of algorithms and networking infrastructure technology that converge in one location: the data center.

For most, the answer will be ‘no’. There will not be the resource or skill in-house to keep ahead of the maze of technical and logistical options to execute the fastest and most profitable trades. Trading success requires accessing extremely powerful servers, with the best data lines and connections close to where the trade is physically taking place. Processing close to the source of the input data provides the lowest possible latency between input and response – and speed matters. Milliseconds can mean the loss or gain of millions of dollars.

 

Latency Matters

Low latency is vital for algorithmic trading. Many factors affect latency, especially hardware location and network connections. Trade execution speed is critical in maximizing profit and loss, and a competitive advantage comes from having the best communication links to hardware in the best location.

TNS’ ultra-low latency Layer 1 technology for exchange direct access inside the data center was the first architecture of its kind to be offered and deployed globally and remains the most advanced solution in the market. It eradicates the need for multiple switches by using a simple, single-hop architecture to deliver direct exchange connectivity in as little as 5 to 85 nanoseconds – impressive when you consider that the human eye takes 400 nanoseconds to blink!

So, acknowledging that speed and colocation are vital for executing a trading strategy, what can firms do to underpin trading success? Many will outsource operations to a specialist managed hosting, colocation and connectivity service provider.

 

In-house vs. DIY

A recent independent report Colocation of Financial Markets Trading Infrastructure’, identifies the pros and cons of in-house management (a “DIY” approach) versus a managed service model. The report found that managed service providers offer beneficial value-added services for capital markets clients. Advantages include cost savings, trade efficiency, and simplified access to data and network infrastructure support, enabling trading firms to focus on their core business competencies. Industry analyst firm, Celent, which authored the report, interviewed trading firms and data and trading technology providers and found that the key decision criteria when deciding to engage a managed service provider included:

  • Consultation and expert advice on the ideal configuration of hardware, network connectivity, location, data feeds and network bandwidth.
  • Agility and flexibility to take advantage of ever-changing investment opportunities by rapidly and easily deploying trading strategies in new markets.
  • Access to high-end network services, leveraging high-speed solutions, including ultra-low latency, in-data center Layer 1 connectivity to link to trading venues, new customers and other service providers.
  • Operational efficiency and future proofing, with access to the latest technology, and highly experienced staff in all global jurisdictions who help to navigate cultural, linguistic, and regulatory obstacles.

 

Challenges

Managed Service Providers offering remote data center space and connectivity are on a quest to deliver a uniform global experience to ensure trading in, for example, Singapore or Tokyo is the same as trading in London or New York. They are also constantly investing in technology and new locations. For TNS, this means responding to customer requests to deliver a service in any location, most recently announcing a managed hosting and colocation offering in Madrid.

On rare occasions, perhaps instigated by political or economic events, firms may need to move from their existing data center location, as seen recently when key exchange, Euronext, relocated its primary data center and related colocation services from Basildon in the UK to the Aruba Global data center IT3 in Bergamo Italy. Such a physical move is a big undertaking and firms need differentiated support and solutions to ensure that they can seamlessly move and trade continuously, regardless of their size, requirements and the exchange location.

So far, TNS has moved nearly 20 existing and new customers to Bergamo, providing traders with uninterrupted, seamless trading. Our customers have been able to focus on their core business while we have managed the global supply chain issues to ensure a smooth migration. With suppliers quoting lead times of a year for some equipment, our buying power compared to smaller firms or those attempting to DIY a move, has proved invaluable in ensuring a smooth transition.

 

Future-Proof

Firms need to future-proof their trading infrastructure by working with a provider that has experience in managing access to vast amounts of raw market data, can support multicast requirements and is able to offer scalable solutions to accommodate the demands of ever-expanding bandwidth. As traders diversify their portfolios, their market data needs can place excessive network capacity pressures on their infrastructure, sometimes running into tens of gigabits. Seek a provider that can easily accommodate these requirements and handle data bursts during high activity periods, such as those seen on many recent occasions due to market volatility caused by political and economic events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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